3M, Florida city move toward settling PFAS chemicals claim, seek trial delay By Reuters


© Reuters

By Maria Ponnezhath and Clark Mindock

(Reuters) -U.S. industrial conglomerate 3M Co and the city of Stuart, Florida are making “significant” progress to settle a water pollution suit tied to toxic “forever chemicals” and sought to delay a trial, according to a court filing on Sunday.

3M was scheduled to face trial in South Carolina federal court on Monday in a lawsuit brought by the Florida city accusing the company of manufacturing PFAS, or per- and polyflouroalkyl substances, despite knowing for decades that the chemicals can cause cancer and other ailments.

“The parties are making material and significant progress toward a resolution and believe that their time would be more productively spent attempting to resolve the matter,” lawyers said in the filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina Charleston Division.

The company and lawyers for the city did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The city of Stuart claimed in its 2018 lawsuit that the company made or sold firefighting foams containing PFAS that polluted local soil and groundwater and sought more than $100 million for filtration and remediation.

Set to have been a test case, the lawsuit is one of more than 4,000 filed against 3M and other chemical companies by U.S. municipalities, state governments and individuals that have been consolidated in federal court in South Carolina.

The request for a delay comes after three major chemicals companies, Chemours Co, DuPont de Nemours (NYSE:) Inc and Corteva (NYSE:) Inc, last Friday said they had reached an agreement in principle to settle claims they contaminated U.S. public water systems with PFAS for $1.19 billion.

3M announced in December that it would stop producing PFAS by 2025, amid increased legal and regulatory scrutiny.

Bloomberg News reported last Friday that 3M had struck a tentative $10 billion deal with U.S. cities and towns to resolve the PFAS water pollution lawsuits it is facing. Reuters could not immediately confirm that report.

Dubbed “forever chemicals” as they do not easily break down in the human body or environment, PFAS are used in a wide range of products from non-stick cookware to cosmetics and have been linked to cancer, hormonal dysfunction and environmental damage.


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